Los Angeles Clippers: NBA season preview, roster and schedule 2018

After overhauling their roster and losing point god Chris Paul, are the Clippers still capable of making the playoffs in the Western Conference this season?


Offseason Recap

Arrivals: Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, Milos Teodosic, Jawun Evans, Montrezl Harrell, DeAndre Liggins, Marshall Plumlee, Willie Reed, Sindarius Thornwell

Departures: Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick, Marreese Speights, Alan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton, Luc Mbah a Moute, Diamond Stone

It was an end of an era for the Clippers. Chris Paul, arguably the best player in franchise history and catalyst of their emergence as a top contender in the West over the last few years, wanted out and was planning on exercising his early termination option. However, the Clips did very well to swing a terrific deal with the Houston Rockets and landed an impressive haul for their outgoing point guard.

Patrick Beverley is every bit the defender Paul has been at the point guard position, so there won’t be too much drop off on that end of the floor. Lou Williams is one of the best sixth men in the league. Meanwhile, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell are promising young pieces that can at least be part of an NBA rotation.

The Clips also signed Serbian point guard Milos Teodosic, who has long been considered one of the best players never to play in the NBA. The 30-year-old is an outstanding passer and playmaker, which should make up somewhat for the loss of Paul.

Teodosic will be part of a completely overhauled Clippers bench after they got rid of sixth man Jamal Crawford and opted not to re-sign a handful of their veteran free agents.

Projected Depth Chart

C – DeAndre Jordan / Willie Reed

PF – Blake Griffin / Montrezl Harrell / Brice Johnson

SF – Danilo Gallinari / Sam Dekker / Wesley Johnson

SG – Austin Rivers / Lou Williams / Sindarius Thornwell

PG – Patrick Beverley / Milos Teodosic / Jawun Evans

Strengths

Even with Paul no longer in the picture, the Clippers still have the pieces to be an above-average offense. Blake Griffin, when healthy, is a top-five power forward in the league. Not only can he fill it up by creating his own offense, he’s also one of the best playmaking big men in the game today. He should thrive in his new role as the full-time facilitator of the Clippers offense.

DeAndre Jordan is still a very dangerous roll man even without Paul as a pick-and-roll partner. Meanwhile, Danilo Gallinari is easily the best small forward the Clippers have had in the Doc Rivers era. He’ll provide some much-needed shooting from the wing, as well as a dash of playmaking.

Losing a top player like Paul will obviously be hard to replace, but with Williams and Teodosic coming off the bench, the Clippers should still have productive pieces in the backcourt to put together an effective offense.

Weaknesses

One of the big strengths the Clippers had over the past few years was the cohesion and understanding their “Big Four” of Paul, Griffin, Jordan, and J.J. Redick had on both ends of the floor.

That’s gone now with the backcourt half of that foursome no longer with the team. And with two-thirds of the team basically brand new, it’ll take some time for the Clips to establish that chemistry with one another.

The other big worry on the team will be the health of their two stars, Griffin and Gallinari. Both have notable injury histories, and losing one or both for an extended period of time could end up being disastrous for the team.

Player to Watch – Milos Teodosic

Die-hard basketball fans have been waiting for quite some time to see Teodosic in the NBA. And while the Serbian is probably a little bit past his prime now at age 30, he should still be a capable contributor off the bench.

Despite his lack of elite athleticism, Teodosic has been able to carve out quite a career for himself over in Europe as well as for his national team. He’s just a magician with the ball, and an expert on the pick-and-roll. Watching him work the PNR with DeAndre Jordan should be fun and should result in a number of highlight-reel alley-oop slams.

Sure, he’ll be a turnstile on defense but his failures on that end of the floor could potentially be equally as entertaining as his mastery on the offensive end.

2017/18 Schedule

1  Oct 19, 2017    @  Los Angeles Lakers

2  Oct 21, 2017    vs.  Phoenix Suns

3  Oct 24, 2017    vs.  Utah Jazz

4  Oct 26, 2017    @  Portland Trail Blazers

5  Oct 28, 2017    vs.  Detroit Pistons

6  Oct 30, 2017    vs.  Golden State Warriors

7  Nov 1, 2017    vs.  Dallas Mavericks

8  Nov 4, 2017    vs.  Memphis Grizzlies

9  Nov 5, 2017    vs.  Miami Heat

10  Nov 7, 2017    @  San Antonio Spurs

11  Nov 10, 2017    @  Oklahoma City Thunder

12  Nov 11, 2017    @  New Orleans Pelicans

13  Nov 13, 2017    vs.  Philadelphia 76ers

14  Nov 17, 2017    @  Cleveland Cavaliers

15  Nov 18, 2017    @  Charlotte Hornets

16  Nov 20, 2017    @  New York Knicks

17  Nov 22, 2017    @  Atlanta Hawks

18  Nov 25, 2017    @  Sacramento Kings

19  Nov 27, 2017    vs.  Los Angeles Lakers

20  Nov 30, 2017    vs.  Utah Jazz

21  Dec 2, 2017    @  Dallas Mavericks

22  Dec 3, 2017    @  Minnesota Timberwolves

23  Dec 6, 2017    vs.  Minnesota Timberwolves

24  Dec 9, 2017    vs.  Washington Wizards

25  Dec 11, 2017    vs.  Toronto Raptors

26  Dec 13, 2017    @  Orlando Magic

27  Dec 15, 2017    @  Washington Wizards

28  Dec 16, 2017    @  Miami Heat

29  Dec 18, 2017    @  San Antonio Spurs

30  Dec 20, 2017    vs.  Phoenix Suns

31  Dec 22, 2017    @  Houston Rockets

32  Dec 23, 2017    @  Memphis Grizzlies

33  Dec 26, 2017    vs.  Sacramento Kings

34  Dec 29, 2017    @  Los Angeles Lakers

35  Dec 31, 2017    vs.  Charlotte Hornets

36  Jan 2, 2018    vs.  Memphis Grizzlies

37  Jan 4, 2018    vs.  Oklahoma City Thunder

38  Jan 6, 2018    vs.  Golden State WarriorS

39  Jan 8, 2018    vs.  Atlanta Hawks

40  Jan 10, 2018    @  Golden State Warriors

41  Jan 11, 2018    @  Sacramento Kings

42  Jan 13, 2018    vs.  Sacramento Kings

43  Jan 15, 2018    vs.  Houston Rockets

44  Jan 17, 2018    vs.  Denver Nuggets

45  Jan 20, 2018    @  Utah Jazz

46  Jan 22, 2018    vs.  Minnesota Timberwolves

47  Jan 24, 2018    vs.  Boston Celtics

48  Jan 26, 2018    @  Memphis Grizzlies

49  Jan 28, 2018    @  New Orleans Pelicans

50  Jan 30, 2018    vs.  Portland Trail Blazers

51  Feb 3, 2018    vs.  Chicago Bulls

52  Feb 5, 2018    vs.  Dallas Mavericks

53  Feb 9, 2018    @  Detroit Pistons

54  Feb 10, 2018    @  Philadelphia 76ers

55  Feb 12, 2018    @  Brooklyn Nets

56  Feb 14, 2018    @  Boston Celtics

57  Feb 22, 2018    @  Golden State Warriors

58  Feb 23, 2018    @  Phoenix Suns

59  Feb 27, 2018    @  Denver Nuggets

60  Feb 28, 2018    vs.  Houston Rockets

61  Mar 2, 2018    vs.  New York Knicks

62  Mar 4, 2018    vs.  Brooklyn Nets

63  Mar 6, 2018    vs.  New Orleans Pelicans

64  Mar 9, 2018    vs.  Cleveland Cavaliers

65  Mar 10, 2018    vs.  Orlando Magic

66  Mar 13, 2018    @  Chicago Bulls

67  Mar 15, 2018    @  Houston Rockets

68  Mar 16, 2018    @  Oklahoma City Thunder

69  Mar 18, 2018    vs.  Portland Trail Blazers

70  Mar 20, 2018    @  Minnesota Timberwolves

71  Mar 21, 2018    @  Milwaukee Bucks

72  Mar 23, 2018    @  Indiana Pacers

73  Mar 25, 2018    @  Toronto Raptors

74  Mar 27, 2018    vs.  Milwaukee Bucks

75  Mar 28, 2018    @  Phoenix Suns

76  Mar 30, 2018    @  Portland Trail Blazers

77  Apr 1, 2018    vs.  Indiana Pacers

78  Apr 3, 2018    vs.  San Antonio Spurs

79  Apr 5, 2018    @  Utah Jazz

80  Apr 7, 2018    vs.  Denver Nuggets

81  Apr 9, 2018    vs.  New Orleans Pelicans

82  Apr 11, 2018   vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Prediction

The fate of the Clippers hinges on the health of their stars. If Griffin and Gallo are healthy and on the court for around 70 games, they stand a strong chance of landing one of the bottom-level playoff spots in the West. Chances are high that both fall a bit short of that mark, but they play just enough to squeak into a seven- or eight-seed with around 43-45 wins.

What predictions do you have for the Clippers this season? Comment below!

  1. Who misses the most games for the Clippers this season?

    1. Blake Griffin
    2. Danilo Gallinari
    3. Any other Clipper
    7 votes
    Share Your Result

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